After my birthday this past weekend, I engaged in a lifetime tradition of reflecting on the year. However how do we even conceptualize 2020? This year compacted so many problems ever present in society, it’s hard to not see this year entirely as bad. Eventually, I came down to: How did we cope with this year?
Coping mechanism is defined as:
an adaptation to environmental stress that is based on conscious or unconscious choice and that enhances control over behavior or gives psychological comfort. — dictionary.com
Before we get into how did we cope. We have to remember we had no choice but to cope to the best of our abilities. Naturally, depending upon whom yo ask this maybe good, bad, or indifferent. It’s all these things because we all didn’t have an active decision here.
So let’s look back at the year shall we? For a lot of people (understandably), this year hasn’t happen/doesn’t count.
Still the fact remains; 2020 has happened. I’m sorry, no amount of pretending will make this year go away. There is no running from how this year will reverberate throughout history for…well ever.
This pandemic has as of now taken the lives of over 300,000 Americans. Still this pandemic has hit Indigenous, Black, and Brown communities the hardest. So again, we’ve to think about our relationships with medical care. Or rather remember because we aren’t white, our care is less than the white standard.
This year also reminded us that, anti Blackness takes no breaks. Never mind a pandemic that can kill everyone, racism must function. We lost Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. These human beings and so many that don’t make national headlines were taken by whiteness. Afterwards, as Black people do we protested for our lives. Protests turned into riots as they should. Again to make sure we are heard and voice our frustrations.
Then came there’s the matter of our politics and government. Where do I start? Well, let’s keep in mind that 74 million people voted for Trump. In a year that showed his utter incompetence. His presidency couldn’t create and maintain plans to support us during a pandemic. Not to mention, his presidency has reminded us that white nationalism has a home in the white house.
Then came the conversations and tiring work regarding the presidential election. We had to vote Blue “otherwise we are a part of the problem”, etc etc. All the time and energy spent on how communities would vote. Being gaslight about expressing our legitimate worries with the Biden & Harris. If marginalized communities didn’t operate for themselves, white people would had voted in another 4 years of incompetence.
Then this year constantly showed the pitfalls of the American dream. People need housing, access to resources, and peace of mind. Unfortunately, a lot of this is tied to the harmful system of capitalism. Despite being being out of work, facing homelessness, our political leaders saw fit that our economy was/is the priority. Never mind that many people still had to work and risk the virus and have. So, how logical is that during an once in a lifetime pandemic?
A lot of people have really done their best to cope however they can. Whether that’s been zoom parties, versuz battles, or hell internet jokes. It’s admirable seeing how people are resilient. Of course, that’s really glossing over how difficult for so many of us. Life is hard for the most marginalized of us, this remains a fact. A lot of coping we’ve done was simply getting through one day at a time.
Regarding dealing with this year, I realized it’s a personally journey. It requires you to be selfish. For myself above all else, that’s making sure I’m healthy in both body and mind. A run everyday, listening to news and learning new things daily. Talking about societal concerns openly and honestly with friends.
I don’t say this lightly but these tools help me get our of bed. They will take precedence over everything. Work, family, friendships, relationships, the world being on fire. How can I focus on these things if I can’t function on my fundamental level? How can any of us really engage with life if we aren’t okay on a basic level?
I hope when you look back at this year you understand that what you need daily. How can you look ahead at a week, month, or even a year if you can’t take care of your day to day? Whatever your coping mechanisms are I hope you don’t compromise them for anyone or anything. I know will not